by Jacqueline Jules

The water is three shades of blue,

still as a warm bath, waiting.

The sands are pink pastel,

thanks to coral reefs, heads poking out

like the turtles paddling everywhere.

Passion flowers wave from every other tree.

Spice leaves share the scent of cinnamon.

Aloe vera grows wild.

The island has no snakes, no mosquitoes.

Only rolling hills with brightly painted houses.

Neon green and shocking pink. White tops

shining in the sun. Idyllic until

the tour guide explains how the ridged roofs

are coated in lime, purifying rainwater

cleverly captured in cisterns; how the cozy

cement structures can withstand

hurricane winds; how even in paradise

one must be prepared to weather storms.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit